Kathmandu, August 20:

The nutrition level of workers at Illam tea estate was found low in terms of calorie and protein consumption. Almost 58 per cent of the families were found consuming calories less than the average and 71 per cent of the families were found consuming protein less than the average.

A recent study conducted by the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) at the initiation of senior food researcher Purna Chandra Wasti among all the families working at the tea estate showed that because of the low consumption of nutritious food, 26 per cent of the children below five were found underweight, 51 per cent children were found stunting (low height for age) and 15 per cent children were found wasting (low weight for height). The condition of the school going-children was found even more upsetting — 48 per cent underweight, 70 per cent stunting and 9 per cent wasting. It was revealed that the low income of the family has been one of the major causes of nutrition crisis. Almost 76 per cent of the families were found earning less than five thousand a month.

Additional employment opportunities, income generation and empowerment programmes for women and proper management of the tea estate could curb the problem, recommended the report emphasising proper health facilities.